The current high mortality rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) reflects frequent presentation at an advanced stage. Recent efforts utilizing fluorescent peptides have identified overexpressed cell surface targets for endoscopic detection of early stage Barrett's-derived EAC. Unfortunately, 30% of EAC patients present with gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinomas (GEJAC) and lack premalignant Barrett's metaplasia, limiting this early detection strategy. We compared mRNA profiles from 52 EACs (tubular EAC; tEAC) collected above the gastroesophageal junction with 70 GEJACs, 8 normal esophageal and 5 normal gastric mucosa samples. We also analyzed our previously published whole-exome sequencing data in a large cohort of these tumors. Principal component analysis, hierarchical clustering and survival-based analyses demonstrated that GEJAC and tEAC were highly similar, with only modest differences in expression and mutation profiles. The combined expression cohort allowed identification of 49 genes coding cell surface targets overexpressed in both GEJAC and tEAC. We confirmed that three of these candidates (CDH11, ICAM1 and CLDN3) were overexpressed in tumors when compared to normal esophagus, normal gastric and non-dysplastic Barrett's, and localized to the surface of tumor cells. Molecular profiling of tEAC and GEJAC tumors indicated extensive similarity and related molecular processes. Identified genes that encode cell surface proteins overexpressed in both Barrett's-derived EAC and those that arise without Barrett's metaplasia will allow simultaneous detection strategies.
Keywords: early detection; esophageal adenocarcinoma; gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinomas; molecular biomarkers.